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Cambridgeshire and Peterborough look to smart tech in connectivity strategy


The Cambridgeshire and Peterborough Combined Authority has set out a Digital Connectivity Infrastructure Strategy including several measures to increase the use of smart technology.

Approved by the authority’s housing and communities committee earlier this week, it covers the next four years and focuses on next generation broadband and mobile coverage, using smart technology to improve the environment, extending free public access Wi-Fi and digital inclusion.

The strategy document identifies support for public services as one of the main aims, and includes support for advanced connectivity for internet of things (IoT) network gateways and a data hub, the piloting of various sensors and support for smart city projects.

It pushes forward the ongoing work of the Connecting Cambridgeshire programme, which is led by the combined authority, and includes plans to build up broadband and mobile infrastructure, along with a number of steps to support the use of smart places solutions.

These include the deployment of the IoT network gateways in the current financial year, to be followed by a gap analysis and further deployments.

The authority plans to work with the county council, district councils and the Greater Cambridge Partnership on developing a hub for data sharing between public sector organisations, businesses and communities; and to collaborate with partners on pilots of new technologies including sensors, driven by the needs of district and town councils.

There are also plans to work with the partnership on delivering its smart workstream for sustainability, to collaborate with utility providers, Network Rail and Highways England on improving connectivity, and including future proof connectivity infrastructure in the local plan.

Meeting challenges

Dr Nik Johnson, mayor of Cambridgeshire and Peterborough, said: Digital connectivity is hugely important for meeting some of the key challenges we face – from sustainable growth to climate change mitigation and the management of scarce resources including water and energy. 

“Reliance on connectivity accelerated in an unprecedented manner during the Covid pandemic and is still incredibly important as we move towards recovery. However, at a time when access to healthcare, education and jobs has become increasingly dependent on digital connectivity it has also highlighted inequality of access and the need for us to show compassion by supporting digital inclusion. 

“This updated digital infrastructure strategy builds on the past success of our collaborative work with local councils, government and commercial providers, and sets new challenging targets to help ensure that we remain at the leading edge and well positioned to take full advantage of current and emerging technology advances.”

Image from iStock, iLexx

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